Overview

Social has been a big part of our life. With the prevalence of social media, we are able to connect with more people across distance.

However, looking at your Facebook friend list, how many people do you know well, and how many people do you wish to know but never get a chance to talk to? Social media enable us to communicate with others easily, however, it also somewhat distance us given that more social happens online.

Moreover, for those who were introvertive, social could be pressure.

Inspiration & Scenario

The inspiration for the idea came from my personal experience. When I was in high school, I had a crush on a friend. However, I was too shy to say it out. After he graduated, his roommate told me that he was into me too, but he was just uncertain about my feeling. The unsuccessful crush has been one of my biggest regret in high school, and I really wish I could be braver at that time.

Similar things happen in other scenarios, too. I am usually introvertive when dealing with strangers, and it’s usually hard for me to meet new people. When I was in college, I have a friend's friend that I really wanted to meet. She did great work in design and photography. We were facebook friends, but I've never got a chance to really talk. I was too shy to invite her to hang out. By the time I graduated, I still haven't met her in person.

I really wish there is something that I could use to express my feeling, but at the same time, it won’t embarrass me.  

Personas

Ideation

Based on the scenarios and personas, I realized that people all have the needs for love and belonging. The needs were not only fulfilled by lovers and families but also friendships. I want the product to serve as a median of matchmaking and an accelerator for socializing.

People have difficulties in confessing their crush because they are afraid of getting a reject, or they are uncertain if others feel the same way. What if we can make these processes less terrifying by keeping it secret unless he/she likes you back.

Same with socializing, there are possibly a lot of friends on your Facebook friend list, and a lot of connections in LinkedIn that you want to connect, but how many will you really get a chance to meet? I want to make the networking/socializing processes more smooth and effective by creating a precise recommendation system and an expedient invitation system. Furthermore, with more and more users using this feature, it will be common to connect online and bring it offline.

I want to make good use of Facebook giving most people use this platform to connect. Moreover, it's probably more comfortable to start off by connecting with friends and acquaintances. (I don't want to make another Tinder because I believe you should at least know this person before you have a crush on him/her.)

User Flow Diagram for two major functions

Realization

I want to make good use of Facebook giving most people use this platform to connect. Moreover, it's probably more comfortable to start off by connecting with friends and acquaintances. (I don't want to make another Tinder because I believe you should at least know this person before you have a crush on him/her.) Thus I decided to design a Facebook social feature called Catalyst.

Prototype

Features of Catalyst:

  • Easy search of users

  • Users can send a heart to their secret crush using private, anonymous or unmasked mode. This action can only be done with one person once a week. 

  • Users can send invitations of various activities and events to friends via anonymous or unmasked mode.

  • Under private mode, users can know who send the heart to them if and only if they both send hearts to each other.

  • Under anonymous mode, users will receive notifications like "Anonymous user has sent you...". And the sender can choose to reveal their identity or part of their information at any time. However, if the receiver accepts the invitation, the sender will be revealed.

  • Users will be able to chat with people who send the heart to them to get to know more about them.

  • The recommendation and discover sessions recommend people with things in common. 

  • Users can set whether a non-friend can interact with them. 

How is Catalyst different?:

  • Catalyst is an added feature on Facebook

  • Privacy is highly valued on Catalyst. Users can choose whether non-friend can interact with them on Catalyst. Users also have full right on which portion of information they want to reveal to other users.

  • The recommendation and discover sessions are based on users hobbies, jobs and locations. Users can choose what factors to prioritize in the setting. .

User Flow

Next Step

  • Design a mobile version based on the Facebook phone app.

  • Add more customization in the privacy setting.

  • Get real users to test on the prototype.

  • A better and more precise recommendation system in activities.

  • Develope a "when to meet" function so users can schedule time to meet.

© 2023 by Shuya Zhan.